Recently in our Wine Marketing spotlight we’ve talked about How to Identify Effective Advertising Channels for Your Winery and 7 Tips to Improve Your Advertising Effectiveness. The response we’ve received from multiple wineries has primarily centered around wanting to know how they can reach, connect with, and inspire brand loyalty among younger wine drinkers, also known as Millennials.

The term “millennial” is used to describe a generation of Americans primarily born in the 1980s and 1990s. Around 80 million strong, Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest group of customers ever. (Some reports suggest that they will represent 50% of the wine- and spirit-buying population by 2025!) They are a diverse, highly visual generation, and often prefer to communicate with emojis rather than words.

Today’s young wine drinkers have been shaped by the rapid rise of technology. They expect it to work as intended, like flipping a switch to turn on the lights, and use it in almost every aspect of their lives. The explosion of social networks has given them dozens of platforms to voice their thoughts and opinions. They grew up with the internet and access it most often from their phones.

Millennials are big on researching brands online before they visit or buy. Therefore, it is imperative that your website be responsive, which means the size of your site automatically adjusts based on your browser size. That way phone, tablet, and desktop users all see a website that is clean and organized so your brand experience is seamless across all devices.


Grafton Winery responsive website Design


Marketing to this group means being accessible in other ways, too. Millennials are more likely to ask a question in a Facebook message or Instagram comment than via a phone call or email. Make sure you’re monitoring your social accounts and responding to questions and comments as soon as possible.

Here are our top 9 tips for marketing wine to Millennials:

1. Be unique. Millennials value individuality and seek to carve out their own identities, in part, via the brands they associate with and consume. They can find contradictions intriguing such as the combination of ugly and pretty, bold and subtle, or new and old. Brands that are unconventional or daring will really stand and have a clear advantage with this group.

2. Create experiences. Millennials crave life-enriching events and are open to trying new things such as:

  • Outdoor adventures like 5k races or obstacle courses
  • Learning opportunities like painting or yoga in the vineyard
  • Social events like Girl’s Night Out, date nights, reunions, or networking nights for young professionals
  • Drink tastings that offer new flavor combinations such as wine with fruit juice, or a “bartender” class where they make their own wine cocktails

3. Host members-only VIP events to meet their desire for peer respect and enhanced status. Perception matters to this group. A recent online article by Gina Cuff explored how emotion drives customer loyalty in wine marketing, “Now more than ever, how a product or brand makes you feel and how it makes others perceive you have become paramount to the purchasing process. Even the decision to make a wine purchase by label alone, which the majority of wine purchasers are now apparently using to inform their choice, is all about perception. It’s about how the label makes them feel – and how others will perceive it. Is it artsy? Cool? Expensive-looking? It all matters. And it has nothing to do with the product itself.”

4. Provide new information, constantly. With the average person’s attention span equal to about 8 seconds these days, it’s important to have something interesting and relevant to communicate via social media, newsletters, and events. Even your wine can be a source of news such as limited edition bottles.

5. Engage them with a problem to solve. Invite them to help name a new wine varietal, vote on the next event theme, or choose the new wine label from the final two design options. Wineries that allow Millennials to influence their brand will forge strong, loyal relationships with this audience.

6. Consider the environment. Millennials tend to favor environmentally friendly policies and are more likely than other consumers to pay more for responsibly made products.

7. Embrace altruism. Millennials are socially conscience and strive to support brands that do more than sell. This audience cares about values, and is passionate about affecting change. Have a cause and integrate into your brand, but…

8. Be authentic. Millennials have been marketed to more than any other generation. They are often portrayed as cynical, and with reason. They will see though any insincere attempts to connect with them and will call you on it. Loudly and publicly. Everywhere.

9. Get creative. Utilize engaging visual content that informs or entertains, and that Millennials want to share. Clever or unusual distribution, a strong social presence, mobile marketing, and word of mouth can be much more powerful than traditional marketing techniques with this audience, which is good news for your budget!

Speaking of your marketing budget, if you’re interested in  social media management or other marketing services for your winery, please  contact us for a free estimate customized to address your specific needs.